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Since March 2023, the Latvian Red Cross has been implementing the international project “EU4Health – Provision of quality and timely psychological first aid to people affected by Ukraine crisis in Ukraine and impacted countries” in Latvia.

The coordinator of the project is the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies (IFRC). 25 RC national societies in Europe region joined the project: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Italy, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway , Poland, Portugal, Romania, Finland, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Hungary, Ukraine and Germany SK national societies. The project is supported by the IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support. 

The project is funded by the DG SANTE, European Commission department that is responsible for EU policy on food safety and health and for monitoring the implementation of related laws.

Context and general objectives

Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, more than 7 million people have fled to other countries, and an estimated 6 million more have been internally exploited. The traumatic consequences are felt by refugees, domestically exploited persons and also by the residents of host countries. Similarly, the crisis caused by the armed conflict is experienced by humanitarian aid providers and society in general.

People affected by the crisis in Ukraine need mental health help. WHO reveals that mental health disorders affect one in five people.

Within the framework of the “EU4Health” project, the IFRC together with the national societies of the Red Cross, will provide support to more than 590,000 people:

  • displaced persons in the territory of Ukraine,
  • people from Ukraine in other European countries,

The target group of the project: aid workers, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, national communities, Red Cross staff and volunteers.

The main goal is to provide psychological first aid and face-to-face mental health and psychosocial support to target groups through hotlines and other activity platforms, building and strengthening the capacity of volunteers and employees of Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies.

Implementation of the project in Latvia

The LatRC is implementing the project in 3 fields: provision of MHPSS, promotion of mental health of LatRC human resources and strengthening of cooperation with local and international partners.

Project implementation period: 2023 – 2025

Provision of psychological first aid

Main activities and results:

  • LatRC employees and volunteers, including those working in health promotion, providing psychological first aid (40 participants) and supporting the local community (30 participants)
  • art and dance therapy classes for Ukrainian civilians (once a week, 12 months long, in 5 Latvian cities);
  • rehabilitation and integration weekends with the participation of at least 200 Ukrainian civilians and local communities;
  • development of 2 sensory spaces for integration and rehabilitation opportunities.

Promoting the mental health of LatRC staff, volunteers and first responders in response before, during and after a crisis

Main activities and results:

  • 48 supervisions than means advisory support in matters related to work and professional activity;
  • 4 trainings for mental health workers and volunteers;
  • facilitation of 4 mental health practical workshops for staff and volunteers.

Strengthening cooperation with state institutions, NGOs and international partners and in the field of mental health promotion and psychosocial support at the local and national level

Main activities and results:

At least 4 meetings with cooperation partners are planned for the purpose of exchanging knowledge and experience

Budget:  EUR 214,437 (Latvia)

Project coordinator in Latvia: Aija Strazda, aija.strazda@redcross.lv, +371 67336653

Building a brighter future: EU4Helath project paves the way for a tomorrow filled with well-being and resilience


Latvian RC, together with 28 other national societies of the Red Cross, have been working together for more than a year to help Ukrainian civilians in their countries, strengthening their psychological health and, therefore, the quality of life.

In the project “EU4Health – provision of quality and timely psychological first aid to people affected by Ukraine crisis in Ukraine and impacted countries”” in 2023, a lot has been accomplished.

During training “Art therapy for war refugees” 11 psychologists from all over Latvia learned valuable knowledge on how to provide support to those who have suffered psychologically and inspire them to overcome difficulties by using one of the most beautiful languages – art. As part of these trainings, methodological material on the implementation of art therapy has been created, which can be useful to anyone who works with people from war zones.

3 LatRC representatives went to Budapest in June, together with colleagues from other countries, to obtain the right to conduct psychological first aid training (PFA), soon after LatRC officially received an adult non-formal education license to conduct training.

More than 300 people from Daugavpils, Liepaja, Riga, Rezekne, Palsmane, Smiltene, Saldus, Valmiera and Valka participated in 17 trainings on PFA.

In the project, LatRC supports not only the Ukrainian target group, but also strengthens its own and its partners’ ability to care for the well-being of aid providers by offering them supervision, which is a consultative support in terms of duties. Support groups for Ukrainian women in Vidzeme and Latgale continued from September to December.

After listening to the opinions of more than 400 Ukrainians about their mental health and the psychosocial support they received, LatRC created a needs-based report that will help to implement multifaceted and data-based support activities and services in the future.

Together we can help!

LatRC staff and volunteers participate in international trainings in 3 countries


From 23 to 25 May Ms Kristine Vagule, LatRC psychologist in project “EU4Health” joined the international training “Caring for staff and volunteers” in Budapest, Hungary, organised by the IFRC. During the event participants from more than 20 RC national societies learned how to promote the mental health of staff and volunteers, how to provide psychological first, including how to hold and manage focus groups. This information is collected and shared to the LatRC regional branches, in order to help and encourage colleagues to provide support that is even more versatile.

LatRC meets with partners of the international project “EU4Health” in Budapest



At the end of February, LatRC representatives participated in the opening event of the international project “EU4Health – provision of high-quality and timely psychological first aid to people affected by the Ukrainian crisis in Ukraine and the affected countries” in Budapest, Hungary, where they met with project partners from the RC national societies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the IFRC MHPSS Center.

During the event, there was an introduction to the activities of the project, the previous experience of the RC NS in providing support to the Ukrainian civilians and the main activities implemented in the project.

The project is funded by the DG SANTE, European Commission department that is responsible for EU policy on food safety and health and for monitoring the implementation of related laws.